Summer heat can cause us to seek out refreshing moments of respite. Kawaii Bubble Tea is ready to facilitate such an experience!
The Clinton Township-based shop serves bubble tea, also known as boba tea. The drink originated in Taiwan and is an infusion of tea, sweetened milk and/or flavorings, ice, and tapioca pearls or jellies.
Kawaii offers fruit teas and milk teas. You choose your tea – black, green, or passion – and up to two flavor enhancers. With the fruit teas, you can choose from flavors such as Strawberry, Lychee, Green Apple, and Mango; with the milk teas, options such as Bubblegum, Spiced Chai, and Cookies N Cream. Both fruit and milk teas can be poured over ice or blended with ice to make slushies.
And of course, there’s the pièce de résistance: the boba! At Kawaii, you choose from three different kinds of boba: the traditional pearl, which is dark and chewy and made from tapioca; the Popping Pearls, explained on its website as “juice balls that burst and disintegrate”; and Coconut Jellies, which are described as “firm and chewy” and of the three, closest resemble candy to me. The Popping Pearls and Coconut Jellies come in a variety of flavors.
Confession time: prior to visiting Kawaii, I’d not been a bubble tea person. I learned about it in high school and was excited to try it but found the tapioca pearls distracting rather than whimsical. I decided it wasn’t for me – until recently.
I found myself increasingly intrigued by Kawaii’s signage, the cute cartoon fox logo and “i”s dotted with hearts in its name. And from scoping out the shop’s menu online, I learned it served Thai tea. I was sold. I even decided I’d opt for the boba; experiencing them again would be an adventure. In this action-starved quarantine time, any adventure, large or small, was a win in my book!
I walked into the shop on a Sunday afternoon and took a spot in line, constituting one of the four customers allowed inside at once due to COVID-19 guidelines. A chalkboard mounted above the counter displayed the shop’s offerings, while the counter itself proffered brightly-colored macarons (a tantalizing possibility to ponder!) and other snacks.
I went for the large Thai tea served over ice and traditional tapioca pearls, downing half of the sweet, milky beverage on the car ride home. When the first tapioca pearl entered my mouth, I was surprised. I’d expected the eating of the boba to be a deliberate exercise, but many of them slid up the canal of the thick straw without effort.
I was also surprised by the fact that I didn’t mind the boba this time around. They struck me as mostly flavorless, with a faint hint of celery (anyone else taste that?). As I chewed and chewed and chewed (there were a lot of boba in my drink), I found them growing on me; they were pretty fun to eat. The tapioca pearls have distinctly moved out of the Distracting category and into the Whimsical. (Thanks for converting me, Kawaii!)
As of the writing of this post, Kawaii Bubble Tea is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. It is also currently carryout only; you can order online via its website or downloadable app or in-person at the shop. Please see its website for additional ordering guidelines – and enjoy the refreshing respite it offers!
43301 Garfield Rd.
Clinton Township, MI 48038